Reflections and Resolutions: Monday Musings

With just over a month left of 2012, I find myself feeling somewhat overwhelmed as I scramble to try and complete my final goals for the year. Let me fist start off by saying how grateful I am for all that I have accomplished this year.

  • Landing an art therapy job
  • Becoming a permanent resident of the U.S.
  • Presenting at the Art Therapy Conference in Savannah, GA
  • Celebrating 1 year of marital bliss
  • Involvement in planning the annual regional symposium for the local art therapy chapters

These are just a few of many accomplishments, but as I mentioned in the musings last week, in order to move forward it is important to first note where we’ve come from and what we’ve accomplished. And then there are the things we haven’t quite brought into fruition yet.

  • What Are They..? Review your goals/resolutions you set last January. What have you achieved..? What do you still need to work toward..? Take a moment to reflect on your accomplishments.
  • Are They Still Important..? This question applies more to the things on your list that you haven’t accomplished to date. Are these goals you would still like to accomplish? Or have your interests shifted? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but it’s important that you’re honest with yourself when you answer it
  • How Are They Achievable..? Consider what small steps you take to begin to implement these resolutions today. Yes TODAY, not in January.

Why is it Important to Begin to Implement These Changes Now?

It’s easy to make excuses to ourselves. I will start _(insert project here)_ in the new year or when I have time I’d like to _(insert project here)_. One of my famous lines is “when I get through this busy period I will _(insert project here)_. Yet, when that busy period ends there is always something more pressing that needs my attention. Two of my big goals for 2012 that got pushed onto the back burner were to:

  1. Build my Etsy Shop
  2. Invest time and energy here on the blog

While it would be easy to put these things off until January, I am certain that come the new year there will be new opportunities begging for my time and attention. So, even though December is a busy month filled with holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and travel I decided it was important to create a plan of action and take baby steps to implement these two goals – making them more natural to integrate in 2013. Thanks for reading and supporting me in implementing one of my goals!

What are some of your goals for the new year..? How do you intend to implement them..?


Simplifying the Holidays: Thanksgiving

Had a quiet and slow-paced Thanksgiving this year – another one for the gratitude list. It’s easy to get caught up in our own self-imposed expectations of the holiday, that we lose sight of what the holidays are about. This is particularly true of Thanksgiving. Each year this holiday becomes more overshadowed by Christmas with decorations and ads out before Halloween. And, call me crazy…but does it seem a little ridiculous that people are preparing to leave their homes and their families for midnight madness and black friday crowds..?  It seems like Thanksgiving never really gets its moment.

This year, we didn’t cook a big meal (we ordered from the local grocery store), didn’t have a lot of people (there were just 3 of us), and we allowed the day to just unfold without plans or expectations, but it still had a special quality to it. The highlight of the afternoon was a country walk with good company.

However you have chosen to spend this day of gratitude, I hope it was full good food, good company, simplicity, and lots of relaxation. Happy Thanksgiving!

DIY Glitter Jars

Creating these sparkly jars is fun and easy! In my quest for a chic, minimalist lifestyle on a budget I have been seeking creative ways to decorate my home. These jars add a little glitter and glitz to my creative corner.

Here’s how you can create your own:

Save glass jars from pasta, jam, etc. Make sure you put them through the dishwasher or hand wash them thoroughly before beginning this project. Pour white craft glue in glass jars and spread evenly with a brush.

Pour glitter into jar (amount of glitter needed depends on size of jar). Put lid on jar and shake hard. Remove lid, create a label, and your jar is complete. I choose chalkboard contact paper for my labels because it gives me the freedom to change my mind about what I store inside.

Happy Upcycling!

Attitude of Gratitude: Monday Musings

Yesterday I enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning and used some of my downtime for self-reflection. As I mentioned in a recent post, I intend to spend the next few “Monday Musings” reflecting on 2012.   With the holidays upon us, it felt important to focus time and energy on those things I am grateful for.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we begin to think about goals and/or resolutions for the new year. In order to set these goals, an important first step is acknowledging what you have and what you have achieved to date.    Gratitude informs us as to whether or not we are on track with our current goals. If we’re feeling positive about our relationships and lifestyle, this is probably an indicator that we are aligned with our goals. If we’re having difficulty cultivating an “attitude of gratitude,” this suggests that we may need to take some time to consider what may or may not be working in our lives.

There are many ways to practice gratitude. You can make a list, journal, visual journal, compare notes with friends. I did a combination of visual journaling, and writing in my altered book. Upon review of my gratitude list, I noticed that four different categories emerged. The first category consisted of   things that were obvious and expected:

  • Husband
  • Family
  • A job that allows me to practice art therapy

The second related to activities that I enjoy doing frequently:

  • Trips to Michael’s
  • Girls night out
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Yoga

The third was the superficial and material things that make my life easier such as my iPhone. Since I am on a minimalist quest, I am pleased to acknowledge that this was the smallest category. Finally, the fourth category was the most abundant and included simple pleasures that make the everyday special:

  • Lighting candles
  • Home cooked meals
  • Hot tea
  • Christmas trees
  • Fall colors
  • Altered books

What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving..?

Introducing the Altered Book…

The Altered Book Project is a creative, visual journaling activity that I have started with my patients with eating disorders and the girls on the adolescent unit. This project provides patients with a safe space, using art as a positive coping skill to process thoughts and feelings. An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork where you take an old book and “alter” its form and appearance to create new meaning.

Why is This Project Beneficial?

  • Being faced with a blank page can be intimidating for many people. Altering a book gives you something to start with and build from
  • A book provides containment for intense feelings and emotions. If an image becomes too overwhelming, the page can be turned or the book closed
  • As this is intended to be an ongoing project, the book keeps thoughts and ideas together in place where they can be further explored

The Basics

To provide you with a little inspiration for your weekend, it is my intention to make Fridays “Altered Book” day. Each week in my groups, I try to teach patients one new technique to use in their book. From now until the end of the year (or perhaps until I run out of ideas), I will be sharing a new technique for your altered book here on the blog. Today, we’re going to start with the basics:

Generally, hardcover books work best. As you add to the book it will get thicker and you want to ensure it stays bound together.

To create stronger pages, consider gluing two or three single pages together

Not Sure Where to Start..?

Open to a random page, circle the words on the page that apply to you in the here and now, paint over the rest of the page

Flip through magazines and create a collage

Use a picture already in the book to create a new picture.

Note: the foot is part of the original image on the page. 

Being More With Less: Monday Musings

2012 is coming to an end. With that in mind, I intend to use my new “Monday Musings” section to reflect on this past year. Generally, January is believed to be the time of year to make changes. In recent years, I have found that taking time for reflection and laying a solid foundation before the new year begins, makes my resolutions feel much more achievable.

A theme that has emerged in my life over the past couple months is the concept of creating space. This idea is both literal and metaphorical. These changes associated with the new year usually involve some form of decluttering.Making space in your life my apply to your physical surroundings such as your home, but it may not be quite that obvious. Decluttering may mean letting go of relationships that no longer serve you or changing jobs if you’re unhappy at your current position.

In September, I stumbled across Courtney Carver’s Project 333. Project 333 helps you to pair down your wardrobe to only 33 items. 33 pieces of clothing include:

  • Clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear, and shoes.
  • Underwear doesn’t count.
  • Sleepwear, loungewear and workout clothing doesn’t count as long as they are only used for those purposes.
  • Special jewelry that you wear everyday like your wedding ring doesn’t count.

Although I didn’t quite reach the magic number of 33,having significantly less clothing in my wardrobe has made my mornings easier.

Another challenge I have been intrigued by is the 100 thing challenge. The point of this is to live with just 100 things.  While the idea of this minimalist lifestyle is intriguing, if I am being honest I am just not there yet. In a recent post Courtney Carver proposes a reverse 100 things challenge, which is to dump 100 things by December 15th. My husband and I decided to embark on this endeavor together and get rid of 200 things cumulatively. It’s not even the 15th of November and I am pleased to unveil our results in the above photo. Many of the items went to goodwill and some to friends and coworkers. We are already noticing the greater sense of spaciousness in our one bedroom apartment. Who knows…maybe we’ll find another 200 things before December 15th….

How will you let go of the old to make room for the new..?

Welcome Back! Pull Up a Chair and Stay Awhile…

Sadly, I fell off the blogging wagon earlier this year. My beloved blog was a creative endeavor I had hoped to grow throughout 2012, but unfortunately life got in the way. However, there are still almost 2 months left in 2012, so now is the time put energy into those neglected intentions you set for the year. It’s not too late.

November is National Blog Posting Month – who knew such a thing existed ..?  This  has challenged me to re-evaluate, restructure, and reinvest in my online space. Plus with the extra hour this weekend, could there be a better time to start..?

Stay tuned for weekly musings, reflections of 2012, creative DIY projects, home organization tips, altered book techniques, and much more…